• Deutsch
  • English

Pleskowstraße 1 - Johanna Broell

Johanna Broell lived at Pleskowstraße 1 from October 1935 to June 1942, in the apartment on the first floor. Her daughter Elisabeth Seidel and her family occupied the ground floor.  

Johanna Broell, née Bendix, was the daughter of the Jewish couple Isaac Pius Bendix and Teresia Bendix, née Freudenreich and was born on 5 January 1869 at Zülpich in the Eifel Mountains.

In 1888 Johanna married Johann Ludwig Broell who lived in Cologne. The marriage at the Cologne registry office on 1 September was followed by a church wedding – in the Protestant church of Cologne five years later.  Johann Ludwig Broell wasn’t a Jew. He was born in Kempten in 1861 and a protestant.  

The couple had five children: three daughters Elisabeth, Dorothea and Therese as well as their sons Walter and Franz.

In April 1934 the 65-year-old widow Johanna Broell moved from Hamburg to Lübeck, together with her daughter Therese (b. 1902). Two of her children, Elisabeth and Franz already lived in Lübeck, while her third daughter Dorothea Dekker lived in Holland as well as their son Walter who married Grada Nicolina Adriana Johanna der Hosson on 6 June 1925.

Johanna Broell had possibly lived at times in Holland with her family, as her son Franz Broell was born in Rotterdam in 1909. He was an engineer by profession and was registered in Lübeck since 1931. In 1933 his wife, Meta Ida, née Markurantz from Hamburg, followed him to Lübeck. She was the same age as him. On 24 August 1934 their daughter Elly Susanne was born in Lübeck. At that time the young family lived at Geniner Straße 35a, together with Johanna and Therese Broell.

Like his sister Elisabeth, Franz Broell worked at the factory of Albert Julius Asch at Moislinger Allee, the Norddeutsche Bürstenindustrie Albert Asch & Co.  Elisabeth Seidel was employed as a clerk. When she arrived in Lübeck Therese Broell declared her job to be "Haustochter," housemaid.

In 1935 Franz Broell, his wife and daughter moved to Ratzeburger Allee 55a, but shortly afterwards his young wife died. The death certificate of 29 November 1935 states the cause of death as "cancer of the right parotid gland and glands of the throat". At this time Therese Broell came to live with her brother, surely to support him in this difficult situation and to look after the little child.

Meanwhile Johanna Broell, Franz and Therese’s mother, had moved to Pleskowstraße 1, where Elisabeth Seidel lived together with Ludwig Reinhard and their daughter Johanna. Johanna was born in 1921 and attended Ernestinenschule, together with her best friend Maria. As Johanna could not become a member of the BDM (short for „Bund Deutscher Mädchen“, the Nazi organisation for girls) because of her Jewish parentage, her girl friend also didn’t join out of solidarity, in spite of being pressured by her teacher. Her friend remembers that Johanna Seidel later left Lübeck and went to Berlin.

In 1936/1937 Therese und Franz Broell were also registerd at Pleskowstraße 1, though without little Elly Susanne, who was being taken care of in Bad Schwartau. On 26 October 1937 the widower Franz Broell married a second time. His new wife Bertha Schuster was born in Pirmasens in 1907. They moved to Katharinenstraße 23a, now together with their little daughter Elly. On 1 July 1939 they tranferred their their registrations to move from Lübeck to Remscheid.

Johanna Broell however stayed with her daughters Therese and Elisabeth and her family at Pleskowstraße 1 where she lived until their deportation.

In summer 1942 she received her "evacuation order“. Officially it was called a "move of domicile" and "accommodation in a seniors home in Bohemia", and possibly Johanna Broell like many others had to pay for this "accomodation in a home"in advance.

On 19 July 1942 the 73-year-old was deported together with about twenty other mostly also elderly people from Lübeck to Terezin, now Czech Republic. 

There is a moving document of the beginning of the transport, a postcard that the relatives of another person concerned were sent by a Mrs Hemmerdenger a few days after she was sent away, using the following words: „You may wonder why you are receiving a mail from a comnpletely strange person. I am the niece of Frau Mansbacher and was travelling with your mother in the same compartment to Hamburg  So I want to tell you that the journey to Hamburg went especially well. Your mother was, like the other ladies in quite good mood. They felt at home at once with Frau Bröll, Frau Ohmann and my Grandma Frau Falk. The ladies at once talked about their children and grandchildren and  showed around pictures and made themselves comfortable on the train. I can only tell you that I wished you had been there and seen what a good mood they all were in. And I hope that this will be a good start for the whole time. Should you hear something from there, I would be grateful if you informed me about it.“ 



Postcard dated 23 July7 1942, Estate of the Dieber family
Postcard dated 23 July7 1942, Estate of the Dieber family

These lines were written by Theresa Hemmerdinger, born Berlin 1911, who was preparing to emigrate to Palestine on the estate of Skaby near Berlin and who had come to Lübeck to say good-bye to Grandma, Aunt and other relatives. This postcard was kept safe in the family of Frieda Dieber, who was also deported from Lübeck to Terezin as carefully as a number of written notes from Ghetto Terezin stating things like "I'm fine here"; "It is very nice here" or "Here I'm in a senior's home, I'm lucky with it."

The reality was different. „Above all the pople were old who came from Germany to Terezin in those months. More than half of them were over 65 years old. They arrived at the station of Bohušovice in sealed waggons/freight cars. They had travelled up to 20 hours and dragged themselves and their 50 kilos of baggage with their last ounce of strength along the four Kilometers road to Terezin.  When the waggons were opened, many of the passengers fell out half unconscious. Those dead or dying remained  in the waggons. One transport arrived after the other.  Nobody knew, where all those people should be accommodated, as the Ghetto was completely overcrowded, it was really too much for the council of elders and the emergency services. The food rations were always going down and the death rate was increasing. In June 1942 all the barracks were overcrowded, in July the buildings  available were no longer enough. The people were accommodated in underground casemates, in backyards, house entrances and attics .“ (www.ghetto-theresienstadt/info/Das Ghetto der Alten) 

Transport VI/2 from Hamburg arrived at Terezin on 20 July 1942. The date of Johanna Broell's death is 11 December 1943. That she could survive Ghetto Terezin for more than a year may only have been possible by her children's regularly sending her food parcels. Different from other cases a „Todesfallbenachrichtigung(death notice)“ does not exist of her.

Though her children as "Jewish half-breeds first grade" escaped deportation and being murdered, the were not spared deprivation of rights and repression. They have certailny tried everything to save their mother from the cruel fate of deportation.

References in Addition to Standard Reference Materials:

  • Adressbücher und Melderegister der Hansestadt Lübeck
  • Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Staatliche Polizeiverwaltung 109, 110
  • Datenpool JSHD der Forschungsstelle “Juden in Schleswig-Holstein” an der Universität Flensburg
  • Memorbuch zum Gedenken an die jüdischen, in der Schoa umgekommenen Schleswig-Holsteiner und Schleswig-Holsteinerinnen, hrsg. V. Miriam Gillis-Carlebach, Hamburg 1996
  • Ina Schmidt, Widerstand - Protest - Verweigerung von Lübeckerinnen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus 1933-1945, Lübeck 1995, S.46
  • Albrecht Schreiber, Zwischen Davidstern und Doppeladler, Illustrierte Chronik der Juden in Moisling und Lübeck, Lübeck 1992
  • Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
  • Zeitzeugengespräche

Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2009 and 2014

Translation Glenn Sellick and Martin Harnisch